Three Michigan State players raised their fists during the playing of the national anthem ahead of the Spartans' game Saturday versus Wisconsin.

When asked about it after the game, MSU head coach Mark Dantonio didn't endorse or decry his players' actions. Instead, he offered understanding.

"Your patriotism, your faith are sort of the same--that's your choice," Dantonio said. "And it's influenced by what you've experienced in this world.

"...This is America, and that's what the flag stands for. It stands for the freedom to do what you need to do, and that's the beautiful thing about this country."

Dantonio's comments come in stark contrast to many of his coaching contemporaries, some of whom have promised punishment for players who protest during the anthem. But the Spartans' head coach, who said he addressed this issue with his team about a month ago, chose a more accepting approach.

"At some point in time, when the true enemy comes, I guess we'll all stand together," Dantonio said. "But I can't make assumptions for our players, what they've gone through in their lives.

"All I can do is try to lead the best way I can and be positive and accepting of our football team and our players."

You can hear Dantonio's response in full in the video above.